Debates between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 23rd Jan 2024
Wed 28th Jun 2023
Tue 18th Oct 2022
Wed 18th Nov 2020

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 22nd February 2024

(1 day, 20 hours ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for his suggestion. It is sad that what happened yesterday with regard to the Speaker happened when the SNP was trying to hold an Opposition day debate on the most serious of issues. I heard what he said, and will be speaking to business managers.

Owen Thompson Portrait Owen Thompson (Midlothian) (SNP)
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Yesterday was incredibly disappointing, from our point of view. It was meant to be an Opposition day, and it was one of only three times in a calendar year when our party gets an opportunity to put forward its business to the House. I do not think that what we came forward with was a surprise to anyone. We were allocated an Opposition day four or five weeks ago, but totally understandably, it had to be moved when the Northern Ireland Assembly was reconvening. At that stage, there were conversations, and I was asked when people would have sight of the Gaza motion that we would bring forward, so it is quite extraordinary for anyone to suggest that they did not know we might come forward with a motion on that topic. When it got to our Opposition day—one of the very few times when we can put forward our policies—our voice was silenced: our motion could not be voted on. That is incredibly disappointing for me and a significant number of my constituents, and those of my hon. Friends and hon. Members from across the Chamber who wanted to support the motion.

Given that, in effect, we did not get an Opposition day yesterday, can we be allocated an alternative date? As others have said, we lost a significant amount of time at the start of the debate, and because of the Speaker’s decision, unfortunately we lost 40 minutes at the end of the debate. That meant that colleagues were cut short, and some withdrew from the debate. What consideration will the Leader of the House give to that suggestion—and, beyond that, to protection for the smaller parties, so that they are not simply railroaded for the political purposes of either of the bigger parties?

I echo the comments of the shadow Leader of the House, but it is critical that all Members of this place, whatever their position or status, be protected from bullying and intimidation. If reports from many media outlets are to be believed, it is entirely unacceptable that significant pressure was put on Mr Speaker to come to his decision yesterday. What steps will the Leader of the House take to investigate those very serious claims? If there is any substance to them, it is an affront to democracy that a party leader can direct decisions of the Chair of this place.

As you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am, as Chief Whip, involved in a number of conversations on how business comes forward. I had direct assurances that I would have a vote on the words of my motion yesterday. Everyone knew well in advance what the potential outcome would be at the end of yesterday’s debate, so to suggest that no one knew is utter nonsense. The reason we are in this position is that convention and the Standing Orders of this House were overruled, against the advice of the Clerks. That only happened because the Labour party wanted to be dug out of a hole. That is unacceptable.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I welcome my hon. Friend back to his place. He is quite right to raise the matter of pressures on his council, particularly those born of the actions of the Mayor of London, whose budget is in crisis. Local government has had about a 7% uplift across the board, but London boroughs clearly face local issues and particular pressures because of the Mayor’s mismanagement. My hon. Friend will know that the next questions to the relevant Secretary of State are on 4 March.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement and, in particular, for announcing the Backbench Business debates for next Thursday. I think the Leader of the House will be aware that between now and Easter, the Backbench Business Committee has little or no time to allocate for debates in the Chamber beyond next Thursday, due to other business encroaching into Thursdays, including the Budget debate. I therefore wonder whether, if there is any additional time between now and the Easter recess, the Leader of the House could tip me the wink as soon as possible, and if she could tip us the wink, via the normal channels, when the date of the estimates day debates is known. We would really appreciate that, so that we can get the wheels in motion.

Of course, we continue to welcome applications for debates in Westminster Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our Committee has written to the Procedure Committee to ask for a change to Standing Orders, so that Westminster Hall debates on Thursdays can begin at 12.30 pm instead of 1.30 pm. It seems that the start time has not caught up with changes to the parliamentary timetable over the years; the change might facilitate better attendance at debates on a Thursday afternoon.

Ceasefire in Gaza

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Wednesday 21st February 2024

(2 days, 20 hours ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I know that Mr Speaker is a servant of this House and that he takes his responsibilities to us extremely seriously. It is that duty towards us and our rights as Members in this place that commands our respect of him.

We all have obligations in this place to ensure that all views can be expressed, and that individual Members and parties of all colours and sizes can have their say. As a Member on the Government Benches, sometimes that is difficult during Opposition day debates, as motions are always deliberately confected to try to engineer the greatest possible backlash against Members. But we on the Government Benches have never asked that the procedures of this House be upturned to militate against such pressures, even when we have faced extreme abuse. Mr Speaker has stated in the decision that he has taken today, and that he is entitled to take, that he wished for all propositions on the Order Paper to be put to the House.

However, that decision has raised temperatures in this House on an issue where feelings are already running high, and that has put right hon. and hon. Members in a more difficult position. It also appears, from the advice of his Clerk, that the decision was taken against the long-standing and established processes and procedures of this House, and that the consequence may be that the Government are not able to respond to Opposition day motions. As such, the Government do not have confidence that they will be able to vote on their own amendment. For that reason, the Government will play no further part in the decision this House takes on today’s proceedings.

I would like to stress that the Government’s position on Israel and Gaza remains unchanged, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister outlined today. We want to see the fighting in Gaza end as soon as possible, and we never again want to see Hamas carry out the appalling terrorist attacks that Israel was subject to. We know that just calling for an immediate ceasefire now, which collapses back into fighting within days or weeks, is not in anyone’s interests. We will be reiterating the Government’s position via a written ministerial statement. I fear that this most grave matter that we are discussing this afternoon has become a political row within the Labour party, and that regrettably—[Interruption.]

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. I want to hear the point of order.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

I fear that, regrettably, Mr Speaker has inserted himself into that row with today’s decision and undermined the confidence of this House in its ability to rely on its long-established Standing Orders to govern its debates—long-established conventions that should not be impaired by the current view of a weak Leader of the Opposition and a divided party. I ask that Mr Speaker take the opportunity to reassure all right hon. and hon. Members that their Speaker—our Speaker—will not seek to undermine those rights in order to protect the interests of particular Members, and that future Opposition day debates will not be hijacked in this way. I say that for the benefit of all Members. [Interruption.]

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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Order. I thank the right hon. Lady for alerting me to her point of order. I will take further points of order, but I think it will be helpful if I explain that if the Government do not move their amendment, the Questions will be first on the current amendment, and secondly on the motion itself, either as amended or in its original form. I hope that is helpful. [Interruption.] It would be helpful if I could be heard, thank you. [Interruption.] Order. I will first take a point of order from the shadow Leader of the House.

Point of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 23rd January 2024

(1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order and for giving me notice of it. The Committee she chairs is entitled to receive a timely response to petitions and, just as importantly, so are members of the public who have signed them. I am sure that she was entirely correct to raise this matter and that Members will be concerned about it. She is lucky that the Leader of the House happens to be here. I sense that she might want to say something in response, because I have no power to compel the Secretary of State to reply to the hon. Lady’s correspondence. As I say, I am sure that we may see a response from the Leader of the House, so perhaps it would be most effective for me to allow her to make a brief comment.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I am very happy to do so, Madam Deputy Speaker. As the hon. Lady knows, we do a lot to ensure that Departments are adhering to their obligations to this place. That takes the form of training, and of calling in Ministers and permanent secretaries in certain cases, and of course Members of this House can raise any such issues at business questions. I hope that Members know that I always respond to those questions and always take their requests and comments seriously. I will ensure that the hon. Lady’s point is followed up with the Department and that her office receives an explanation and, I hope, a swift answer.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I thank the Leader of the House for that. I am sure it is extremely helpful, but no doubt the hon. Lady will come back if problems persist, as I am sure that the Speaker would be concerned to hear about these delays.

Bill Presented

Children Not in School (National Register and Support) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Bridget Phillipson, supported by Catherine McKinnell, presented a Bill to provide for a national register of children who are not pupils at any school; to require local authorities to provide data about such children in their area for the purpose of maintaining that register; to make provision about the support that local authorities provide to such children; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Wednesday 7 February, and to be printed (Bill 149).

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 23rd January 2024

(1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I add my thanks to all Members who have paid tribute to the wonderful Sir Tony, not just today but over the past week, including the hon. Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell). I sincerely hope that the words that have been heard today, and over the past week, will give some comfort to Tony’s family and friends at this difficult time.

With permission, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will make a short statement altering the business of the House for Wednesday.

Wednesday 24 January—Consideration of a business of the House motion, followed by all stages of a short Bill relating to Executive formation in Northern Ireland, followed by a general debate on the situation in the Red sea.

I will announce further business on Thursday, in the usual way.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Lucy Powell Portrait Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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It was a privilege to be in the Chamber for those fantastic and wonderful tributes to our dear friend, Tony Lloyd. I gave my tribute last week, and I will feel ever in his shadow as his successor as the Member for Manchester Central.

Labour share the Government’s desire to see an Executive restored as soon as possible, and if extending the deadline for elections to be called is the best way to achieve that, which it seems to be, we will, of course, fully support that. However, can the Leader of the House provide any update on the talks with the Northern Ireland political parties to achieve restoration of the Executive? It has been some time since we had an update.

Can the Leader of the House say for how long the period for Executive formation will be extended? Indeed, can she say when the Bill will be published? Giving the House just one day’s notice to pass an entire Bill in a day is far from ideal, especially when its detail is still unknown. Can she outline the Government’s plans for timetabling the Bill in the Lords?

Finally, I welcome tomorrow’s debate on the situation in the Red sea, albeit that the debate has been shortened. Can the Leader of the House tell us when the wider debate on other matters relating to defence and security will now take place?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Lady and the Opposition for their support in this matter. The Bill, which she will understand is a very short Bill, will be tabled today and published tomorrow. I recognise that is a short amount of time for the House, but it is a very short Bill, and I think the House will be able to cope with that situation. She will understand that the timetable for this matter is very important.

I will make sure that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has heard what the hon. Lady said about an update, and she will know that the Government remain firmly of the belief that a sitting Northern Ireland Executive would be best placed to act quickly and effectively to resolve issues for the people they serve, and that is our aim. I am sure the debate will allow some of those issues to be aired, although it is a very narrow Bill.

Timetabling in the Lords is a matter for their lordships. I will make further announcements on future business in the usual way.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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I too pay tribute to Tony Lloyd. It was really moving to listen to the contributions of his friends and colleagues, which reflected the warm and decent person he was.

I regret that we are having to deal with Executive formation in this place yet again, because it is always best for the democratically elected Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to be in their place and governing in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland. The longer this drags on, the more the people of Northern Ireland suffer, which is frankly unforgiveable.

I regret, too, that we are seeing parliamentary business created on the hoof by this Government, particularly in such a serious and sensitive area, but here we are again. Many of us warned of exactly this problem arising. We are here because of a mess of the UK Government’s making, but they refuse to acknowledge that the easiest way of resolving it would be closer alignment with the EU, which would make much of this go away. Instead, the Brexit bourach rumbles on—a bourach this Government caused and are unwilling to face up to and sort out. My hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) will have much more to say on this tomorrow.

I have one question. Will this Government ever acknowledge their role in creating this mess and reconsider their hard-line rejection of the sensible option of returning to the single market?

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 16th January 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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With permission, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will make a short business statement about an addition to this week’s business. Following the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that the Government intend to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir under the Terrorism Act 2000, the business on Thursday will now be:

Thursday 18 January—A motion to approve the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2024, followed by a debate on a motion on the loan charge, followed by a debate on a motion on HS2 compensation. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

I will announce further business in the usual way on Thursday.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Lucy Powell Portrait Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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I thank the Leader of the House for updating the House on the business for Thursday, and for advance sight of it. It is good to see her announcing a change in business as a statement, rather than a point of order, and I know that Members will appreciate that proper approach.

There have long been serious concerns about the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which have been exacerbated in the light of Hamas’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israel on 7 October. It is right that the Government have looked at the evidence and intelligence on the threat posed by the group, and Labour supports the decision to proscribe it.

I also welcome the fact that urgent time has been found to debate the order this week. Those who incite violence and promote or glorify terrorism have no place on Britain’s streets. In that context, what progress has been made on proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, either via a statutory instrument, as the Government are using this week for Hizb ut-Tahrir, or by a new process to deal with hostile state actors for which there is wide cross-party support in this House?

Finally, I have to say that when I was first notified of an emergency business statement today, I did wonder whether the Government were having a rethink about their Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill in the face of the usual infighting and chaos. Can the Leader of the House take this opportunity to confirm that, whether the Bill is or is not amended in Committee today or tomorrow, there will still be, as programmed, Third Reading at the end of tomorrow’s business? There has been some suggestion that the Government may still table their own amendments and push Third Reading back to another day. Would that not be further proof of the Prime Minister’s weakness and the fact that, when it comes to governing, they are just making it up as they go along?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my right hon. Friend for his very helpful question. I know that this is an issue of great concern to many Members. He will appreciate that the Home Secretary and the Government will want to make any future announcements in a timely way while also considering all the effects that such a course of action might bring about, not least to our ships and their insurance, but I shall ensure that the Home Secretary has heard what he has said.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Does the Scottish National party spokesperson wish to ask a question?

Points of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 16th January 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I sense that the Leader of the House might like to provide a brief response.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Further to the point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. We take these matters very seriously, and I will ensure that the points that Members have raised are brought to the attention of the Departments that have been mentioned.

I would just add that a great deal of work has been done by the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, which has been looking into how we can improve these processes, the quality of impact assessments and so forth, and a large training programme takes place in Departments. My noble Friend Lord True and I have also undertaken sessions with Ministers dealing with statutory instruments, involving training and improving the quality of what is put forward to enable the House to scrutinise legislation properly.

There will be incidents, I am sure, particularly with complex briefs, where someone cannot recall the information while at the Dispatch Box, but as the textbook example set out by the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Dame Meg Hillier) with regard to my hon. Friend the Minister for Legal Migration and the Border shows, when those situations arise, Ministers are very aware of their responsibility to get back to hon. Members before those statutory instruments come into effect.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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In that helpful intervention the Leader of the House has outlined the programme that is in train, and I am sure that right hon. and hon. Members will keep their beady eyes on the situation and Ministers will ensure that they are as well prepared as possible.

Bills Presented

Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Stewart Malcolm McDonald, supported by Kirsten Oswald, Ms Anum Qaisar, David Linden, Deidre Brock, Patricia Gibson, Alison Thewliss, Allan Dorans, Stuart C. McDonald, Dr Philippa Whitford, Alyn Smith and Ian Blackford, presented a Bill to prohibit unpaid trial work periods; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 15 March, and to be printed (Bill 144).

Military Action (Parliamentary Approval) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Richard Foord presented a Bill to require parliamentary approval for the deployment of UK armed forces for armed conflict; to provide for exemptions from that requirement in cases of emergency or in respect of compliance with treaty obligations; to make provision for retrospective parliamentary approval in certain circumstances; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the first time; to be read a second time on Friday 26 January, and to be printed (Bill 146).

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 11th January 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am very much looking forward to visiting my hon. Friend’s constituency. We have been through a rough few years, but the people of this country and his constituency have been absolutely stoic. I know that his local area enjoys nearly full employment and high average wages. I think that all 40 schools in his area are rated good or outstanding, and his business community has attracted unprecedented foreign investment. I know that he is eager to do more for his constituents, but I look forward to learning more about what his community is delivering when I visit shortly.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I gently point out that it is quite important to ask the Leader of the House something that relates to business in the House, rather than for shout-outs, which are not quite appropriate for business questions.

Liz Twist Portrait Liz Twist (Blaydon) (Lab)
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I invite the Leader of the House, and in fact all hon. Members, to join me and Samaritans on Monday for a brew. Blue Monday may have been a term invented by the travel industry to encourage us to book holidays, but we have converted it to Brew Monday, when we can talk about the importance of talking to each other in an effort to prevent suicide. To back that up, can we have a debate in Government time on the national suicide prevention strategy, and look at what else we can do besides Brew Monday to prevent suicides?

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 14th December 2023

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am sure I speak for everyone in the Chamber and the whole House when I join the hon. Lady in her condolences and memories, particularly for Rebecca and Gaby, but also for all those affected by that appalling, tragic incident, which is still very vivid in all our minds. I shall certainly make sure that the relevant Departments—there will be a few that have an interest—have heard what she has said. It is obviously a live and ongoing case, so I am not able to comment further, but she has done a great service by reminding us of that anniversary and I shall make sure that Ministers have heard her words.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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We do have to be very careful if there are any ongoing cases.

Barry Gardiner Portrait Barry Gardiner (Brent North) (Lab)
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I am sure the Leader of the House will join me in my praise and thanks to London’s Community Kitchen and the Sufra food bank, which do such wonderful work in my constituency, but will she do more? In the new year, will she hold a debate in this place about the work of food banks across the country, not just so that we can praise and thank them for all that they do, but so that we can make them redundant?

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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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The Leader of the House is still here, and I think she wishes to respond directly.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The answer is yes, with the caveat that the right hon. Lady will understand: business is fluid, events happen and there is demand for particular statements. She will know from her meetings with the Minister for the Cabinet Office that he is a very diligent individual. He cares deeply about this issue, and I know that he will want to come to the House given the importance of the matter. I fully understand the optics that the right hon. Lady has described. She will know that I cannot give guarantees, but I hope that I have reassured her of our intent.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 7th December 2023

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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As my right hon. Friend asked her question, there were audible gasps across the Chamber. That is an incredible lack of local political leadership. Council tax payers in her district will be disappointed to hear that news. If she were to apply for a debate, I am sure that it would be well attended. I am sure that everyone would urge restraint and want to ensure the best value possible for people’s hard-earned cash.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Scottish National party spokesperson.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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It is tempting to forestall and dismantle now any spin that the Leader of the House may be inclined to bring up on Scottish education issues, given Westminster’s shocking record. Following her outburst against Scotland’s health service workers last week, I must clear up some things. Scotland watches her “odd” weekly rants, as the Scottish press dubs them, with concern and alarm. Let me give some useful facts for her and Scotland about the Scottish NHS: health funding is at record highs; staffing levels are also at a record high, with far more staff per head than England; we have the best performing A&E units and the highest number of GPs per head in the UK, no prescriptions charges, and still not a single day lost to industrial disputes in the Scottish NHS. There is always room for improvement but, as the Leader of the House reaches for her latest penny dreadful script, she can rest assured that I will be happy to set the record straight, wherever her imagination takes her.

Meanwhile, the Government plumb new depths with their immigration panic measures, which are so damaging to Scotland in particular. The Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley has written:

“A friend has messaged me in a blind panic”.

If they fall in love and marry someone from overseas, must they have an income of £38,700 to settle here? He went on to say:

“Something like 75% of us earn less than that. Is it fair to limit family formation to the rich? Is it conservative…to divide families?

Of course, it is fine if someone is rich, so maybe it is.

If we, our children or our grandchildren fall in love with someone from another country—many of us do so on our travels; I am living proof of that—they will not be able to join us here unless we have guaranteed earnings nearing £39,000. Cue a further exodus of our young people from these shores to other countries with a more enlightened approach to migration and their citizens’ human rights. Even worse, those who have already gone through the process and who thought that they had won the right to live here in peace will have to come up with that figure the next time their visa is extended. Should Parliament not have debated these extreme measures first? Can the Leader of the House defend this shameful policy, or are she and other Ministers threatening to resign?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my right hon. Friend for raising this shocking situation. S4C is an incredibly important service to culture and education, and we want that organisation also to enshrine UK and Welsh values at its heart. Given that Culture, Media and Sport questions is not until 11 January, I will write this afternoon on his behalf and ensure that the Culture Secretary has heard of this appalling situation. I hope that it will swiftly become a happier one.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the Backbench Business for next Thursday. Before those two debates, there will be a Select Committee statement on a Home Affairs Committee report on human trafficking, which will be published tomorrow. I also thank her for our meeting earlier this week and reiterate my request that she gives us an early indication of any Backbench Business Committee time in the week beginning 8 January so that we can allocate that business prior to the Christmas recess.

In my role as Chair of the Committee, Members from across the House often ask me questions, thinking that I benefit from a level of inside knowledge or political insight. One question that I am repeatedly asked is, “Do you know the recess dates following Christmas?” On behalf of Members across the House, I ask that question of the Leader of the House; possibly she will let us know next week, before the Christmas recess.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the new proposed earnings threshold of £38,700 to be eligible for a spouse visa. Will that new threshold apply to new applicants only or to existing visa holders already resident in the UK and validly here, looking to extend their stay? It could jeopardise families who are legally here, gainfully employed and making a positive contribution if they are possibly having the rules changed underneath them.

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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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The hon. Gentleman is lucky that the Leader of the House is still here, and she indicates that she wishes to make a response to his point of order.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) is a very experienced and diligent parliamentarian. He has done everything right: he has pursued the Department and not had satisfaction from it, and when right hon. and hon. Members do not have satisfaction from a Department, they must bring their issues to business questions. I hope they know that I will always follow up on their behalf, and I will do so in the case of my hon. Friend. I will ensure that conversation takes place and I will put pen to paper this afternoon.

MPs Staff: Employment Conditions

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 16th November 2023

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am proposing this on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne, but I shall certainly make sure that I can get the precise details to the hon. Gentleman. Much would depend on what is in an individual’s contract, as those will vary substantially depending on how they had worked here. I will endeavour to get an answer to him on that.

Finally, I would like to endorse the report’s conclusions about the valuable work of the Members’ Services Team. It provides expert advice and support to colleagues on a range of matters, but in particular it is a vital source of support on employment issues. The report rightly recognises the value of that support and highlights the importance of colleagues’ engaging with the team on any staffing issues that arise. I encourage any colleague with concerns about an employment issue to contact the team at the earliest opportunity, and I welcome the report’s recommendations to create a system of account managers to provide more direct support to Members in this area.

I particularly wish to thank Chris Sear, the director of the Members’ Services Team, who is retiring at the end of this month, after a long career in the House. The work that Chris has done to expand the services that provide assistance to Members of this House has been hugely welcome. He was instrumental and very helpful in conducting the largest Members’ survey ever done, which took place this year and was about what kinds of services and support people needed. I want to place on record the gratitude that colleagues have for him and his team.

I hope these measures carry the support of Members and I commend the motion to the House.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Deputy Leader of the House.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 16th November 2023

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important matter on behalf of his constituents. Basic 5G is now available in about 85% of UK premises and the surrounding areas, five years ahead of schedule, but of course we want people to benefit from this opportunity as soon as possible. We published the UK wireless infrastructure strategy in April, setting out a new ambition for a nationwide network of higher-quality, stand-alone 5G in all populated areas by 2030. It also set out new 6G strategies, alongside an investment of up to £100 million in future telecoms research. I will make sure the responsible Minister has heard that more needs to be done in my hon. Friend’s constituency. This is vital to ensure that we see the economic growth we want in all parts of the UK.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering business questions.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 9th November 2023

(3 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising that important point. As someone who has been subject to such threats myself, I think these matters are very important. We did work on this in the previous Session. There is ongoing work in the Ministry of Justice and other Departments to ensure that people are able to whistleblow. In other parts of Government, we have moved to protect individuals who find themselves in different but similar sets of circumstances, particularly relating to issues of employment and sexual harassment.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering the business question.

Points of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 26th October 2023

(4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the right hon. Lady for her point of order and for giving notice of it. I know how hard she has campaigned on this issue and that it is a matter of concern to Members on all sides of the House. She has raised a number of issues, some of which are ongoing and, I am sure, will be raised in other ways.

First, she said that she thought the Prime Minister had perhaps made an incorrect statement. She will know that Mr Speaker is always very anxious that, if any incorrect information has been said inadvertently, it should be corrected at the earliest opportunity. She has also raised a number of issues about when the Government might come forward with further information. Fortunately, we have the Leader of the House here, who was listening closely to the right hon. Lady, and I think she wishes to respond.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will be brief. I am sure that, if there were business questions, the right hon. Lady would have asked that question. I thank her for the work that she and her all-party parliamentary group on haemophilia and contaminated blood have done. The position that she set out is correct. I was here yesterday, and I do not think that the Prime Minister sought to state that it was otherwise. Given we do not have a business statement today, I will write to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Jeremy Quin), on the specific issue of those affected who have not received interim compensation payments, to ask that he consider what she has said today and update her and the House at the earliest opportunity.

I would stress that the compensation study was set up to be concurrent with the inquiry, so that we could move swiftly to make amends for this appalling injustice. I know, because I had meetings with my officials yesterday, that that is very much the view of the Minister. He is determined to make progress on these things quickly and on the practical things that we can do in the interim. The right hon. Lady has my assurance on that. My involvement is to ensure that, if any legislation is needed, we are ready to do that. I reassure the House—and thank her for the opportunity to do so—that this Government, which set up the inquiry, are determined to ensure that all people infected and affected have justice.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I thank the Leader of the House for her statement. I am sure that the right hon. Lady will follow up and there will be some liaison about how to go forward.

Point of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 19th October 2023

(4 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order, but if questions relate to business, they should be raised during business questions, because it is not fair on the Leader of the House if people prolong business questions with points of order. I believe that the Leader of the House is happy to respond, but I want to make it clear that the hon. Gentleman perhaps should have raised this matter during business questions itself.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have heard what the hon. Gentleman has said on behalf of his colleagues, and I will make sure that it is heard by the Department. I will follow that up this afternoon.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I thank the Leader of the House for responding to the point of order, and we will now move on.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 19th October 2023

(4 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising that important point. I happened to see what I would describe as a spittle-flecked monologue, criticising members of the general public in Scotland for daring to voice their disappointment at the quality of the A9 and other road infrastructure. My advice to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) is that if he does not want the public to continually complain about things, he might dual those roads, as that project has been long overdue. The public should have decent roads for the taxes they pay.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. I presume that the hon. Gentleman informed the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) of his question?

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 14th September 2023

(5 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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First, I am sure I speak for the whole House in putting it on the record that our thoughts are with the people of Morocco and Libya in the wake of the recent tragic events? May I also wish shanah tovah—a very happy, healthy and sweet new year—to the Jewish community celebrating Rosh Hashanah?

I am a Conservative, and I am always happy to take personal responsibility, so let me respond to the points the hon. Lady raises. First, in regard to the Committee on Standards report, she will know that it did not recommend that any action be taken against the Prime Minister. I am happy to get that on record.

I remind the hon. Lady that the work rate of this Government and this Parliament has been to put through 16 Bills—13 of which have received Royal Assent—since the Prime Minister’s tenure started, as well as a record number of private Members’ Bills. In every area of Government, we are delivering.

She mentions energy. We have decarbonised faster than any other nation and led the charge on that.

We have been extremely busy, particularly focused on the Prime Minister’s five priorities, chief among them stopping the small boats. The hon. Lady is new to the post, but I remind her that her party voted more than 70 times against our measures to strengthen borders. We have been working very hard, and the Labour party has been frustrating us. Labour has consistently stood against any measures to combat small boats. Those measures are delivering. Crossings are down by 20%, and those from Albania are down by 90%.

The leader of the hon. Lady’s party is today showing himself again to be Mr Open Borders. He wanted the Home Office to stop all deportation flights, he wanted free movement, he is mooting taking 100,000 illegal immigrants from the safety of the EU and bringing them here to the UK, and he is planning on reversing our ban on people claiming asylum if they have come here illegally. We are working very hard. We are putting Bills through, but the Labour party would unpick that legislation. Time and again, Labour is showing that it is not taking the tough decisions to stand up for the people of this country.

We have seen that in other areas as well. The hon. Lady invited me to look at her energy plan, but it would make this nation less energy secure. We have also seen it today with Labour’s so-called new deal for working people, which I call the trade unions’ charter. Labour says that it will ban unpaid internships, yet its MPs advertise them. Labour says that it will fight for equality, yet in Birmingham, where it is in power, it did not pay women a fair wage. Labour says that it wants homes for all, yet it blocks plans to build them. Labour is the party of ULEZ, the fuel duty escalator, the 20 mph default speed limit and soaring council tax, and every health board it oversees is in special measures. It is no longer the party of working people—we are.

The hon. Lady wants to examine our work rate and record. We are the party of free childcare, of 11 million workplace pensions, of 1 million new businesses, of doubling the personal allowance, of fair fuel and, at times of crisis, of furlough and loans to preserve the livelihoods and businesses of this country. We consistently take action to stand up for the interests of the people of this country.

The hon. Lady echoes the hilarious gag that the Leader of the Opposition made yesterday in his attempt to insult the PM by comparing him to a popular children’s figurine. I am happy to focus on that. I do not think that that line will survive contact with the Prime Minister’s work rate, but let me rise to the bait and return the serve. I think that the Labour leader is beach Ken. Beach Ken stands for nothing, on shifting sands, in his flip flops staring out to sea, doing nothing constructive to stop small boats or to grow the economy. When we examine the Labour leader’s weak record on union demands, border control, protecting the public and stopping small boats, we discover that, like beach Ken, he has zero balls. Further business will be announced in the usual way.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Father of the House.

Peter Bottomley Portrait Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con)
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Will my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House arrange for the right person in government to contact me about the Afghan for whom I have been trying to work for the last nearly two years? I have approached the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence, but have received nothing useful or helpful back, so could the right person approach me?

I have received the following endorsement from a former colonel in the International Security Assistance Force:

“Because of his service in support of the NATO Armed Forces in the Afghan Theater of Combat Operations,”

this person, whose name I will not give out in public,

“has suffered and continues suffering threats to the life and property of himself. To the best of my knowledge,”

he does not present a

“threat to the safety or national security of any Country of the NATO Alliance.”

The person himself wrote to me today, saying,

“I am sorry bothering you”—

he always apologises for bothering me—and explaining again that his grandfather was killed for not disclosing his location. He writes:

“The Taliban trying everyday to kill me. I feel death every moment. My economy is very weak I can’t longer continue to feed myself. I am hidden day and night…Please help me urgently. Please save my life urgently.”

Could the right person please approach me to say how he and his wife can be extricated, exfiltrated or allowed to leave Afghanistan?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising again that case, which he has raised previously. I have written to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence, but I will happily do so again and I will ask that an official from one of those Department meet him. I know that the Veterans Minister is very aware of those who remain in-country or in third countries, and is focused on those cases.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Scottish National party spokesperson.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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It is always revealing to hear the Leader of the House express her increasingly outlandish views of Scotland every Thursday morning. I expect today will be no different. Her efforts last week had the feel of a fever dream, as she treated us to her thoughts on Mary Queen of Scots, the highland clearances and the hundred years war, all in some sort of answer to my comments about Scotland’s remarkable progress on child poverty. Goodness knows what we will get this week, although once again I gently remind her that business questions is for Members of this House to ask about her Government and their policies. We all understand the difficulties of defending this tired, hollowed-out bunch on their last legs, but that is her job—for the moment, anyway.

I wonder, given her claim to have a keen interest in events north of the border, if she has had a chance to look at the report by the think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research on the state of the Union. It suggests that the kind of belligerent, muscular Unionism we see on display from her Tory Benches is now utterly counterproductive, and not just on Thursday mornings but day in, day out. The report highlights the brittle and contemptuous approach of Westminster to Scotland and its people. Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University’s governance centre, and co-author of the report, said:

“attempts…to champion a single version of Britishness, to buttress what some have termed ‘the precious Union’, are not only doomed to failure but are likely to be self-defeating.”

Doomed to failure—a phrase that could be applied to so many of this Government’s endeavours: Brexit, High Speed 2 and numerous defence projects such as the Ajax tanks debacle. I could go on. They never listen. They never learn. It might also help the Leader of the House to read an article by respected BBC financial journalist Paul Lewis of the “Money Box” programme, who recently wrote:

“I once coined the acronym Tabis – Things Are Better in Scotland – as a shorthand for the forward-looking social policies of that country. And it gets truer all the time.”

Once again, is it not time for a debate, even in the dog days of this Government, to look at Scotland and learn how, as Paul Lewis said, to do things better?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my right hon. Friend for the work she did to ensure that this important step forward for the House was established. I agree that there are serious concerns about the timeliness and quality of investigations, and other concerns. I and other Commission members look forward to working with the new director and the new Parliamentary Commissioner to ensure that the system operates effectively and as it was intended to do. The Commission took some important decisions regarding the upcoming governance review at its meeting on Monday. I hope the review will also lead to some important improvements that will restore trust in the system. I encourage all colleagues to feed into the review and the Committee on Standards. I thank again my right hon. Friend for the attention she is still showing to this very important body.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Following last week’s business statement, I thank the Leader of the House for writing to the Secretary of State for Education on my behalf. I am really grateful.

The Backbench Business Committee has been accustomed over the years to managing demand for debates in the Chamber and dealing with a queue of applications. But due in the main to the Government’s very welcome generosity in awarding Chamber time to us, as evidenced again this morning, we currently have no queue. We have one application where the applicants have asked for time in late November. As always, we will always welcome applications for debates here in the Chamber and for time we can allocate in Westminster Hall.

Lastly, will the Leader of the House join me in congratulating the 60,000 entrants of the Great North Run, which took place last Sunday, many thousands of whom had to complete the race in absolutely torrential rain, and in particular my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck), who completed the race?

Points of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 5th September 2023

(5 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for giving notice of it. I know that he, as a former Leader of the House, will be very aware of the procedures for organising business in the House. He also knows that it is not a matter for me. I would remind him that I said on three occasions during the previous statement that there was a lot of business to get through, that it does not have protected time, and that therefore short questions and answers were required. I have tried my best to reflect the fact that there is pressure on business, because he is quite right that many colleagues want to contribute to the next debate. The Leader of the House is present and may wish to respond, so I will allow her to do so.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
- Hansard - -

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I would like to place on the record that we are always keen to ensure that this House has time to debate matters. Contrary to what some might be saying, this is not a zombie Parliament and we are putting through a lot of legislation as well as private Bills. I also remind the House that the programme motion for the Energy Bill was agreed on 9 May.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I was about to say that the programme motion was agreed to by the House. I thank the Leader of the House for her response, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman, a previous Leader of the House, will remember that sometimes it is not possible to please everybody.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Monday 17th July 2023

(7 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I beg to move,

That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that His Majesty will appoint Dame Laura Cox to the office of ordinary member of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority with effect from 1 August 2023 for the period ending on 31 July 2028.

The Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has produced a report—its first report of 2023—in relation to the motion. I have no doubt that Members will have studied that report closely and will know of Dame Laura’s background. I note that the recruitment panel considered Dame Laura an eminently appointable candidate.

IPSA is quite rightly independent of Parliament and Government, but as all Members will know and understand, it has an incredibly important role in regulating and administering the business costs of hon. Members and deciding their pay and pensions. I hope that the House will support this appointment and wish Dame Laura well in this important role, and I commend the motion to the House.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 13th July 2023

(7 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my right hon. Friend for the work she is doing, alongside Andy Street, on tackling this issue. She will know that across the country we have a good record on these matters. Since 2010, violent crime in England and Wales has fallen by 41%, which is fantastic and a huge tribute to all working on the issue. However, the west midlands has the highest recorded rate of knife crime throughout England and Wales, and I know my right hon. Friend and hon. Friends from that area are holding the police and crime commissioner to account on that poor record. I congratulate her on what she is doing. I am sure that if she were to secure a debate on this issue, it would be well attended.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the spokesperson for the Scottish National party.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is good to be back after a short absence on parliamentary business. First, I request a debate on conventions of this House. Normally, my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen South (Stephen Flynn) would have responded to the Prime Minister’s statement on NATO, but as we were not given any advance notice of that important statement, unlike His Majesty’s loyal Opposition, he was unable to be in his place to respond. There is a conventional expectation to be notified of such statements beforehand, as we should be made aware to ensure that we can scrutinise the Government properly. Will the Leader of the House take that up with her Government?

While I was away, I notice the Leader of the House had a day trip to Scotland. I hope she received the kind of warm welcome we always give to people visiting from afar. On her very brief visit, she will have been in a nation where not a single day has been lost in the health service to strikes; where the Government and teachers got together and negotiated a deal; where there is no profit motive when people turn the tap on for water in their homes; where water quality is among the best in Europe; where social policies, such as the Scottish child payment, have been universally welcomed; where unemployment is lower than the UK as a whole and economic growth faster; and where we continue to attract levels of foreign direct investment second only to London.

On her return to this place, she, like me, was no doubt depressed to be back under a regime that has given Scots the catastrophe of Brexit against our will, a debt burden greater than our entire GDP, crippling increases in mortgages, rents and food prices, and the expectation of the highest tax burden in Britain since the second world war by 2027-28. What a great thing it is to be governed by people so incompetent they cannot spend £1.9 billion on desperately needed housing in England—by the way, I hope the devolved nations can keep their Barnettised share of that, as we will certainly use it—and apparently cannot tell the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation, as Scotland’s Government try to take action to address drug deaths. The current approach of criminalising users, advocated by her Government, is clearly not working.

Finally, could we have time for a debate on the Government’s progress on their five doomed pledges? As always, I ask the Leader of the House to answer the questions first, before she reads out her next leadership bid script.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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My right hon. Friend raises some very good points. I gave the Commons tally for the number of times that Labour had voted against our important Bill in this place. I think the tally in the Lords is 29 times. The House of Lords, as he will recognise, does an incredibly important job in scrutinising and, we hope, improving legislation. My hon. Friend the Chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into such matters. My right hon. Friend will also know that one of the most vocal set of voices for reform of the Lords does actually comes from the Lords itself.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I know that we are just about to go into the last week of the parliamentary Session before the summer recess, but the Backbench Business Committee is still very much open for business. We still welcome applications for debates in the first two weeks of September, after the summer recess. There are a number of anniversaries in September to celebrate, so we could have debates about International Literacy Day, World Atopic Eczema Day, United Nations International Day of Peace, or International Day of Sign Language. If anyone is interested in those subjects, the anniversaries of which are in September, please bring forward an application.

I wonder whether the Leader of the House would be kind enough to give us early notice if she is at all considering giving the Backbench Business Committee any time in the week beginning 18 September, the two days before the conference recess. We would very much welcome early notice of that.

I think it was at the beginning of last week that the England and Wales Cricket Board received the report of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which sadly but not surprisingly found that there is institutional racism, sexism and class discrimination across the game of cricket—a much loved game and a much loved sport across the whole country. We have had a fan-led review of governance in football, the recommendations of which still need to be implemented, but can we now have a debate on the subject of a Government-sponsored fan-led review of governance in cricket? It looks like it is very much needed.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 6th July 2023

(7 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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The business for the week commencing 10 July will include:

Monday 10 July—Debate on the first special report of the Committee of Privileges, followed by remaining stages of the Electronic Trade Documents Bill [Lords], followed by Second Reading of the Northern Ireland Budget (No. 2) Bill.

Tuesday 11 July—Consideration of Lords amendments to the Illegal Migration Bill.

Wednesday 12 July—Opposition day (20th allotted day). Debate in the name of the official Opposition. Subject to be announced.

Thursday 13 July—Debate on a motion on the second report of the Foreign Affairs Committee, “The cost of complacency: illicit finance and the war in Ukraine” and the Government response, followed by general debate on the third report of the Health and Social Care Committee, “Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care” and the Government response. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee at the recommendation of the Liaison Committee.

Friday 14 July—The House will not be sitting.

The provisional business for the week commencing 17 July includes:

Monday 17 July—Consideration of Lords message on the Illegal Migration Bill, followed by consideration of Lords message on the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill [Lords], followed by consideration of Lords message on the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.

Tuesday 18 July—If necessary, consideration of Lords message on the Illegal Migration Bill, followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords message.

Wednesday 19 July—If necessary, consideration of Lords message on the Illegal Migration Bill, followed by debate on the Committee on Standards report on all-party parliamentary groups, followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords message.

Thursday 20 July—The Sir David Amess summer Adjournment debate. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

The House will rise for the summer recess at the conclusion of business on Thursday 20 July and return on Monday 4 September.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Thangam Debbonaire Portrait Thangam Debbonaire
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the Leader of the House for the forthcoming business.

I would like to address the Standards Committee report published this morning on the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Christopher Pincher). I am shocked and saddened at its findings and my thoughts—and, I hope, the thoughts of the whole House—are with the victims. As well as addressing the impact on them of the Member’s behaviour, the Committee found that the actions of the Member significantly affected the public’s perception of this House. I am afraid to say that, shamefully, it appears that the Conservative party protected and even promoted him, despite a previous investigation into his conduct.

I am concerned that the Leader of the House did not announce a motion to approve the Committee’s report. I do hope that the Government are not attempting to delay any possible by-election. Will the Leader of the House confirm that she will bring forward the motion as soon as possible, that the Government will recommend approving the report and its sanctions, and that the Prime Minister will show some backbone this time and actually condemn the actions of the Member? If the Member does not do the decent thing and resign, will the Leader of the House ensure that she allocates time with the speed and urgency that the activities require? Does she want me to remind her week after week that sexual harassment is not acceptable?

To continue, I wish the England cricket team the best of luck as they start the third test against Australia today. On that note, the remaining legislation announced by the Leader of the House up to the summer is more like a series of dot balls. Where is the drive? The Government have a huge majority and they are not doing anything with it. Instead, the Prime Minister is wasting precious time on the Floor of the House trying to pass red meat for a small group of right-wing Back Benchers, rather than new laws that will actually help working people.

Why did not the Leader of the House announce the transport Bill or the mental health Bill, which have been left in limbo, or the much-needed schools Bill, which the Government have now completely abandoned? Where is the leasehold reform Bill? Millions of people around the country will be furious that the Government have, again, failed to introduce long-promised and much-needed leasehold reform. That was a 2019 Conservative manifesto commitment and it has been promised by almost every Housing Secretary since. So where is the Bill?

Labour forced the Government into committing to end the sale of new private leaseholds and to replace existing ones with commonhold. Our motion passed with a majority of 174, without a single vote against, so where is the Government’s plan? Our motion also instructed the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to make an oral statement to MPs by 23 June. Where is he? He is 13 days late and counting. He is hiding in the dressing room, sending out the nightwatchman when there is an entire Session left. Will the Leader of the House find the Housing Secretary and get him to the Dispatch Box to explain to leaseholders why he is dragging his feet?

Instead of scoring runs, the Prime Minister is running scared of scrutiny. Too weak to turn up to Prime Minister’s questions, he would not even try to bat away questions on his failing record yesterday—a so-called leader who cannot even defend his own wicket. Any credible Prime Minister would accept the need for scrutiny and answer the questions from colleagues on behalf of the people we represent.

It is not just PMQs, though, is it? The Prime Minister barely makes an appearance these days. He did not show up or even give an opinion on his predecessor’s lies last month. I did notice that he managed to find time to watch the cricket, so I hope this speech might catch his attention. Can the Leader of the House tell us whether the Prime Minister will stand up to the senior members of his own party who attempted to undermine and attack the democratic institutions of this House and vote for the Privileges Committee motion on Monday? The public deserve to know what he thinks and they want a Prime Minister who stands up for standards.

Just like at Lord’s on Sunday, the ball is dead, it is the end of the over and we are heading towards the end of the innings. The Tories have sent out their last batsman. He is out for a golden duck. The Prime Minister has nothing to show the people of this country. He has failed to bring down the cost of living, failed to bring down waiting lists and failed to stop the dangerous boat crossings. Should he not, like Ben Stokes, consider what is in the spirit of the game? It is time he declared and called a general election.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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May I start by saying how delighted I was to attend yesterday’s service of thanksgiving and dedication for His Majesty King Charles III at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh. I thank all involved in what was a magnificent day.

I add my voice to the many tributes that have been paid this week to all those who work in and alongside the national health service for its 75 years of service. I also commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster. I am sure the thoughts of Members across the House are with all those responding to the incident in London this morning.

The hon. Lady sends a message to the England cricket team that I am sure we would all echo. We all want them to do well. May I make a plea to her and her party to assist in that by telling Just Stop Oil to just stop? Not content with interrupting car runs, it is now intent on interrupting cricket runs. I am all for frustrating the Australian batsmen, but that is the England cricket team’s job. In all seriousness, we have seen some awful scenes this week, particularly at the tennis. It is particularly callous to interrupt sporting events, which can turn the course of a match and risk injury to players. I appreciate the connections between this selfish and counter- productive group of people and the Labour party’s coffers, which might also explain why Labour’s energy policy undermines our energy security and prosperity, and the fact that Labour has voted against every measure we have brought forward to end dangerous and disruptive protests. I hope we will see no more scenes such as we have seen at those sporting events, and I wish all those taking part in this sport-packed weekend good luck. On our proposals for renters and for leasehold reform, we remain committed to those and I will update the House in the usual way.

I turn to the very serious matter that the hon. Lady focused on: standards. Let me first make a broad point. The House knows my view on these matters. The only way we will improve the situation here is by recognising that we are not just one organisation, but a community of many. Processes and the volume of standards bodies, with 13 separate entities and counting, does not improve behaviour—only cultural change will do that. The key to that is deepening our understanding of the duty of care we have towards each other. We are custodians of the trust and authority of this place.

I have set out my intention to conclude my own assessment, with external advice, of where we need to focus in this place. I will make those findings available to the Commission, the hon. Lady and the Committee on Standards. I held a private session with the Committee this week to tell it of my concerns and suggested solutions. I have also told the Committee and the Speaker that I think the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme review needs to be brought forward. Finally, as the hon. Lady will know, and I thank her for her support, I am establishing a forum between political parties, the Government and the House to ensure that we can work together in the best way possible to support MPs, prospective MPs, their staff and the staff of the House. I am supported in all that work by the Prime Minister.

The hon. Lady mentions the privileges motion. I will not dwell on that today. We will be able to debate that and both be able to say what we think on Monday. As for the report published today at 9 am, the Government did not set the timetable for the publication of that report; it is the Standards Committee’s report and it has published it today. She will appreciate that the hon. Member concerned has 10 days to appeal and we must let due process run its course. But she knows that we take these matters incredibly seriously. Further business will be announced in the usual way.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Father of the House.

Peter Bottomley Portrait Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con)
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I thank my right hon. Friend for what she has said. Eight days ago, on 28 June, before the debate on the hybrid Holocaust Memorial Bill, but after I had come into the Chamber, a written statement from a Minister was put in the Library saying that the estimated cost in one year had gone up by more than twice the £17 million that the Government have already spent without achieving anything.

Does the Department think that is an appropriate way of putting important information into the public domain, when neither Minister speaking in the debate mentioned that increase of nearly £36 million and no MP in the Chamber knew about it?

Will the Leader of the House ask the permanent secretary in that Department to report this to the National Audit Office and ask it to update the report it made a year ago?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for his question. He should know, because I think the letter would have been copied to his office, that I have written to the Department on that matter and I shall certainly, again, make sure it has heard his comments today.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I call the Scottish National party spokesperson.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
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I thank the Leader for giving us the business and, again, endorse the remarks that the shadow Leader has made about standards. I wish to add my own remarks about the 35th anniversary of the Piper Alpha tragedy. I am sure our thoughts are very much with all those who continue to be affected by the tragic events that took place 35 years ago to this day.

I also wish to say how pleased I am that the Leader of the House enjoyed her visit to St Giles’ Cathedral yesterday for the service of thanksgiving. I hope she did not suffer from a bout of sword envy when she saw Dame Katherine Grainger carrying out that duty yesterday.

This week sees the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS, the inspiration for which came from the experience of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, established in 1913. I add my own words of thanks for the contribution NHS staff, past, present and future, have made and will make to our collective health and wellbeing as a nation.

Last week, I asked the Leader of the House to make time for debates on why six police forces in England continue to remain in special measures and on why NHS staff sickness in England has hit a record high. There are, alas, no signs of any debates forthcoming on those issues. Can I add to that list a request for a debate on why 28 NHS trusts and integrated care boards across England are in similar special measures, so we can find out what the Government intend to do about that?

This week, members of the Orkney Islands Council agreed that they should explore options for alternative models of governance, including exploring their Nordic connections. There have been some suggestions that they might wish to rejoin Norway and exploit those historical links. It is easy for Members on the SNP Benches to see the attractions of being part of a small, prosperous, energy-rich, independent country of 5.5 million people, so the only question is the constitutional means by which that could be given effect, if a part of the UK wished to leave. Asking for approximately 5.5 million friends, could we have a debate on how that might happen please?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I pay tribute to all the work my hon. Friend has done on this. It has enabled Members across the House to contribute to the Bill, too. The Bill has been through the Joint Committee process, as he rightly points out. I suggest he raises the matter at the next Health questions, on 11 July, but I will ensure all those involved in preparing fourth-Session legislation, as well as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, have heard what he said.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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It will be a short advertisement from me this week. The Backbench Business Committee is very much open for business and we would welcome applications for debates here in the Chamber and in Westminster Hall for the September sitting weeks, immediately after the summer recess. Please take note, everyone: we have some time available, if that time is awarded to us by the Government.

As Chair of the all-party parliamentary group for parental participation in education, earlier this week I was pleased to welcome as visitors some of the award winners of this year’s national parent teacher association awards and hear about their activities. Will the Leader of the House join me in congratulating the award winners and recognising the invaluable contribution of all PTAs across the country to our schools and communities?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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My hon. Friend is right that the Government are putting our money where our mouth is. We need to give communities the capital they need to regenerate and to attract further investment. I wish Julz, who I understand initiated the plan to save the high street and was a great force for good in securing that bid, all the best in the forthcoming election. Other candidates are available, who I am sure will be listed on the BBC website.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I will assume that the hon. Gentleman asked for a debate or a statement.

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Fiona Bruce Portrait Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con)
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Labour-led Cheshire East Council has proposed to close all libraries for at least one and a half weekdays every week. In my constituency, that will affect libraries in Alsager, Sandbach, Holmes Chapel, Middlewich and Congleton. Does the Leader of the House agree that members of Congleton Town Council and others are absolutely right to oppose that inexplicable proposal, bearing in mind its negative and, indeed, potentially damaging impact not only on young people’s learning but on many of my least well-off constituents, who depend on libraries for welfare checks, bus applications, computer use for job applications, to read the local papers, and many other everyday essentials?

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. It is quite important to ask the Leader of the House in such a way that it is relevant to the business, rather than just asking whether she agrees with the comments that have been made.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I remind my hon. Friend that DLUHC questions are on Monday—it will be jam-packed. I agree with her: that is a crazy solution to a problem of constrained resource. Why have an asset, with all those overheads, just to shut it for part of the week? I encourage her council to be a bit more entrepreneurial by generating income, working with partners, asking for business support and doing the many other things that councils up and down the country have done to secure such vital services, including, in some cases, community asset transfers. I hope that, in addition to securing a debate and asking a question on Monday, she can also get her council to buck up.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Again, I thank the hon. Gentleman on behalf of all of us for continuing to raise these matters each week. It is very important that we send the message that our eyes are on those groups that are suffering terribly in particular parts of the world. We do have one more Foreign Office questions before the House rises for summer recess, and I know the hon. Gentleman will need no encouragement to be there—he will be there. He will also know that earlier this year, the Foreign Secretary launched the international women and girls strategy, giving that ongoing work an update. We will continue to do all we can to speak out for the plight of all peoples who are being oppressed, particularly women and girls, and to champion their freedoms, including their freedom of religion and of belief.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering the business questions.

Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) (No. 2) Bill

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 56), That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Question put forthwith, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

House of Commons Commission (External Member)

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Wednesday 28th June 2023

(8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I beg to move,

That, in pursuance of section 1(2B) of the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978, as amended, Catherine Ward be appointed to the House of Commons Commission for a period of 18 months with immediate effect.

I am sure that the whole House will want to join me in thanking Louise Wilson, who served as an external member on the House of Commons Commission from June 2021 to November 2022. I wish her well in the future.

The Commission recommends that the House appoint Catherine Ward as an external member for an initial period of 18 months, with the possibility to extend for a further two years. I hope that the House will agree to her appointment today. I commend the motion to the House.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Proxy Voting

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Wednesday 28th June 2023

(8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I beg to move,

That—

(1) this House

(a) notes the Third Report from the Procedure Committee, on Proxy voting: Review of illness and injury pilot (HC 807), and, subject to paragraph (2) of this motion, approves the recommendations relating to extending the scheme on an ongoing basis and absences from the parliamentary estate in paragraphs 6, 7, 18 and 19 of that Report.

(b) endorses the proposals relating to the evidence required to obtain a proxy vote and the duration of such a vote set out in the letter dated 8 June from the Procedure Committee to the Leader of the House relating to arrangements for proxy voting for Members with a serious long-term illness or injury, and directs the Speaker to amend the scheme governing the operation of proxy voting in accordance with those proposals with effect from 11 September.

(2) the amendment to Standing Order No. 39A (Voting by proxy) made by the Orders of 12 October 2022 (Voting by proxy (amendment and extension)) and 26 April 2023 (Voting by proxy (extension of pilot arrangements)) shall have effect for the duration of the present Parliament.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. Will those leaving please do so quietly so that we can hear the Leader of the House?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Following a successful pilot scheme and considered review by the Procedure Committee, the House is asked to approve a change to the Standing Orders to extend proxy voting to Members suffering long-term illness or injury until the end of this Parliament. The House is also asked to endorse further recommendations from the Procedure Committee to ensure that appropriate and suitably robust arrangements are put in place for Members who wish to apply for a proxy vote. It recommends that Members who avail themselves of the proxy voting system for reasons of long-term illness or injury must provide a certificate from a hospital consultant, and that any such proxy vote can be held for a maximum duration of seven months, with the possibility of further extension if recommended by both the consultant and the parliamentary health and wellbeing service. To give time for Mr Speaker to amend the scheme and for any affected Members to gather the necessary paperwork, the changes—if agreed—will take effect from 11 September.

The Government want to support a more inclusive culture and working environment in Parliament, and welcome the Procedure Committee’s conclusion that the pilot has been a success. I am grateful to all Committee members and its Chair, my right hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), for all their work on this issue. In changing the procedures of this House, we must maintain the transparency of the voting process and ensure that the electorate can hold Members to account for the performance of their parliamentary duties. I believe that the scheme, as amended, satisfies those priorities while providing sensible accommodations for Members, enabling them to discharge their responsibilities when prevented from doing so for reasons of long-term illness or injury.

Changes to the rules governing this House must be introduced with care. Extending the scheme to the end of this Parliament, rather than in perpetuity, will allow the House to consider and monitor its operation and consider any changes. I hope that the measures carry the support of Members. I thank colleagues for all the work done on the scheme, and I commend the motion to the House.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 15th June 2023

(8 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on his re-election to that important role. On the first Bill he mentions, he knows how important this is to the Government and to many people, and it is also important that we bring these things forward in a timely way. He will know that the next stage is for the House of Lords Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee to meet on 19 June to consider the Standing Orders that apply, and I hope the Bill will continue to make good progress. The second Bill is also making good progress, alongside the Procurement Bill, as he will know, and I will announce further business in the usual way.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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There is no shortage of things we can talk about this week. The UK still has the highest core inflation in the G7, with the continuing cost of living crisis and warnings of further rate rise misery for mortgage owners. There were some—putting it mildly—questionable choices on a former PM’s honours list, a scathing report out yesterday from the Scottish Government demonstrating exactly how this UK Government are attempting to impose direct rule on Scotland by stealth and, indeed, an utterly damning Privileges Committee report, just released, with its conclusions on that former PM’s behaviour, although we can of course expect that one to be very thoroughly debated on Monday. Our constituents, who suffered so much throughout the pandemic, deserve nothing less.

However, I want to focus on this occasion on something I am sure the Leader of the House will have been as horrified to hear about as I was. It is the report on Sky News that serving personnel at RAF bases in England are having to use food banks to feed their families. We all know that the Leader of the House has a real interest in defence matters—until her demotion by the previous Prime Minister, she was a Defence Minister herself—and next week is of course Armed Forces Week, with many events planned for this place, so it can only be a matter of profound shame for her that service personnel are having to go days without food to make sure their own children are fed. Living hand to mouth is frankly unimaginable at a time of war in Europe. How are her Government going to back those “grafters”, as she would put it? The Tories claim to be the party of defence, but with the continuing scandal of substandard personnel accommodation, endless Tory defence cuts and the billions wasted on defence procurement fiascos—and now personnel being forced to use food banks—is it not more than time for a serious debate on the numerous Tory defence failures? Does she agree, and would she support that?

Once again, I ask the Leader of the House, with respect, not to reach for the inaccurate, out-of-date video script, written by her own army of special advisers, attacking the elected Government of Scotland. Business questions are about the conduct of her Government, and I would argue that this question is too serious for this now obvious avoidance technique. Would she be so helpful as to answer those questions?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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My right hon. Friend raises an incredibly important matter. Many people would be surprised to hear about the volume of such attacks that take place, and there has recently been a spate of them. That has been incredibly shocking, and is the result of owners not being able to control those animals. It is a serious matter, of which I know the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is aware. As the next questions to her Department are not until 6 July, I shall write on my right hon. Friend’s behalf and ensure that the Secretary of State has heard him today.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I thank the Leader of the House for writing to the Secretary of State for Education last week, on my behalf and on behalf of deaf children. I am grateful for that. I also thank her for announcing the Backbench business for next Thursday. The House will be aware that estimates-day debates will take place in early July, and the closing date for applications for those debates is next Monday at the close of business. We will then receive personal applications from Members on Tuesday afternoon at the end of the ordinary Backbench Business Committee.

Due to my work on the Education Committee, matters of educational interest are often brought to my attention, and I want to raise a matter that is of both educational and employment interest. Some 256 security staff employed by Bidvest Noonan at University College London have been told to reapply for their jobs. Only 216 jobs will be available, and all of those will be with hugely reduced pay and conditions, and with loss of pension rights. Many of those staff are ex-service personnel, and the lack of action by the Government on fire and rehire brings into question their commitment to the armed forces covenant for such employees, by not clamping down on those shoddy employment practices. May we have a statement to update the House on what the Government will do about those immoral fire and rehire proposals?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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Although it is always good to hear from the hon. Gentleman, he, sadly, raises distressing cases. I am sure that all Members would want to express the sentiments that he has, and I thank him again for shining a spotlight on these individuals. It is appalling that people face these human rights abuses—that is what they are—and I hope that we have all been able to send a clear message that we are watching what happens to these individuals.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering the business question.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 27th April 2023

(10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising this very important matter. It should be a concern to all Members of the House that these dangerous and, in many cases, antisemitic conspiracy theories can still be promoted and do gain traction. As my hon. Friend will know, I take this matter very seriously and gave a speech on it a couple of months ago. It is an excellent topic for debate. The current Members survey includes questions, among many others, on what further services the Library could provide. I think that ensuring we can all understand what is going on with these kinds of campaigns, and who is behind them, is something we should consider.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for that timely question. I know that she and her constituent recently met the Prime Minister, along with her constituent’s companion Jagger, who I understand reluctantly faces retirement shortly. My hon. Friend is right that we want to increase access to that vital means for people to go about and achieve their ambitions in life. She has missed Women and Equalities questions this week, which happened yesterday, but I will follow up on this for her with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement and for announcing Backbench business for the next two weeks. Can she help me with some words of consolation for my good friend Mr Mark Allen, who I took as my guest to St James’s Park last Sunday? Mark is the proprietor of licensed premises known to me in Kennington, but he is also, sadly for him, a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. He is a very stoical supporter but, despite that stoicism, Sunday’s events came as a bit of a shock. Can the Leader of the House say a word of consolation for him?

Tomorrow is Workers Memorial Day, when we commemorate all those killed, injured or made unwell by their work. Can we recognise 28 April every year to remember the dead and fight for the living?

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 30th March 2023

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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My right hon. Friend raises a depressing situation. I think sometimes people look at numbers on a spreadsheet and they forget about the impact that cuts to such services have on families. It will affect education and where people go to school, and people really rely on those services. That is why we have committed £3 billion for bus transformation. Why that local authority would target these basic services, particularly against the backdrop of its budget increasing, is beyond me. I urge it to reconsider, and I congratulate him and his council colleagues on what they are doing to try to retain the service.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Scottish National party spokesperson.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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May I start by congratulating our new SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf? Very movingly, he paid tribute in his victory speech to his grandparents, who emigrated from Punjab 60 years ago. It is such a strong message that neither the colour of someone’s skin nor their faith should be a barrier to reaching the highest office.

Was it not therefore ironic and deeply sad that in the same week, this place was debating the so-called Illegal Migration Bill? We were told that people seeking refuge and asylum were “breaking into Britain”, as if they were thieves. That line no doubt played well with Conservative party focus groups, and it was regurgitated by the Government’s Minister for Immigration. No doubt as the Government rev up their culture wars, we will hear it again.

The Leader of the House describes herself as Parliament’s representative in Government, but this House was not given the opportunity for line-by-line scrutiny of this rushed Bill, as would have occurred in a Committee Room upstairs. It is feast or famine with this lot. It is either weeks of filler debates or frantically pushing through controversial Bills such as this without time for proper scrutiny or debate. Is it not part of the Leader of the House’s job to organise the business of this House? As Parliament’s representative in Government, what is her excuse for this latest boorach?

Shamefully, we still have no real detail on what measures are being put in place to safeguard children and young people, despite so many of them still being missing from existing hotel arrangements. Can we have a debate examining the protections for these minors before the Bill returns to the House?

Lastly, we expect a veritable avalanche of written statements on green issues today, most of which will be, fittingly enough, recycled announcements. It is clear that after decades of Westminster Governments squandering Scotland’s immense energy resources, both Labour and the Tories are once again greedily eyeing up our potential, this time as a clean energy superpower, and even lecturing the Scottish Government for their supposed failure on renewables while visiting a wind farm operated by that very same Government.

We are being told that the UK’s energy revolution is being made in Scotland, powering up Britain with Scotland’s clean, green energy—funny, I thought Scotland was a basket case that was too poor to survive without the UK. Plus ça change. When will there be a debate finally in this place on Scotland’s green energy revolution, so that we can see how the track record and future plans of the different parties truly measure up?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my right hon. Friend for continuing to raise this issue. This tax is having a devastating impact not just on people in London, but on those from the surrounding area and trades from further afield. It is vital that we have actual genuine options for people to make good environmental choices, and that includes public transport, by ensuring that bus services are maintained and that people can rely on public transport because it is not on strike all the time. It also means investing in the technology needed to make that transition. This is not working. The growing volume of dissent about this approach, which is just adding to businesses’ and households’ bills, has to cease and the issue has to be re-evaluated.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement and for announcing the Back-Bench business for the week after the Easter recess. I give her advance notice that we intend to put on two debates on Thursday 27 April—one on NHS dentistry and the second on reducing plastic pollution in our seas and oceans.

Could I remind Members across the House that they can apply for BackBench Business debates? They can pick up a form in the Table Office or email our Backbench Business Committee Clerks. Quite often, Members like to put in applications for commemorative days. If they are interested in any of these subjects, a number of commemorative days are coming up in May and June, such as United Nations Global Road Safety Week, World Bee Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Blood Donor Day and International Asteroid Day. If Members are interested in any of those subjects, I ask them please to pick up a form and send in an application to the Backbench Business Committee.

Speaking as the Chair of the Committee, I do not like to get overtly party political, but having spent 27 years in local government as a councillor prior to coming into this House, I was struck by the Leader of the House’s comments on council tax. I would just point out to her that Labour councils, particularly those in the north of England, on average have a much lower council tax base than the national average, and the band D national median is totally meaningless. Having a low council tax base means that they rely much more heavily on the revenue support grant, and when that revenue support grant is unilaterally withdrawn but nothing is done to compensate for it by reforming council tax, it leaves local authorities in dire straits. My local authority in Gateshead has lost £170 million per year since I was deputy leader of the council in 2010. I am afraid to say that we really do need a debate in Government time about the reform of council tax.

With that, Madam Deputy Speaker, can I wish you a happy Easter? I wish the Leader of the House, Members and staff across the House a happy Easter. I hope they have a very restful recess.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for his tireless campaigning on the issue. He will know that we have received many expressions of interest for the next eight new hospitals from trusts across the country; I understand that there is one for Doncaster, his area. Those expressions of interest have now been assessed and the Government will make an announcement in due course. I am not able to give my hon. Friend any further information on that today, but I shall certainly make sure that the Secretary of State hears his championing, yet again, of his constituency.

Chris Bryant Portrait Sir Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab)
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The register of Ministers’ interests says that the right hon. Lady is the Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, but she is self-evidently the Leader of the House, and has been for 205 days. Indeed, the Department for International Trade was abolished 51 days ago. The register is not even an accurate list of Ministers now. No Department has published transparency returns on anything after the end of September, so it has been 180 days. An ordinary MP would have to register everything within 28 days.

The Leader of the House has been saying for some time that she will get this sorted—she promised the House before Christmas. So far as I can see, we are going in the wrong direction, not the right direction. Why can we not have Ministers’ interests published within a week or a fortnight of their being incurred? Why can we not have it done immediately?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Member not just for his kind remarks, but, again, for giving a voice to those people whom many Members of this House will be concerned about—whether they are in China, Nigeria, or Afghanistan or are organisations that are working to support those people. They are very much in our minds, and we will continue to focus on their plight. I will just add that, yesterday, a number of parliamentarians joined me in meeting advocates and organisations that are working to protect democracy and women’s rights around the world, with a particular focus on Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere. We did a workshop together to see what more we can do to provide Members of this House with opportunities to support those organisations in a much more profound way—how we can organise ourselves better here. It is not just about networks globally, but about organisations working in the UK to protect vulnerable women, too. I plan to update the House on some new initiatives later this year, which I hope Members will welcome.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering the business questions.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 23rd March 2023

(11 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I note that today is the day of reflection marking three years since we first entered lockdown. I know all Members will be reflecting on the experiences of our constituents, as well as those of our own families, during those dark days, and reflecting in particular those who lost their lives and those to whom we owe an immense debt of gratitude for their role in defeating the virus and saving lives.

I wish to associate myself with the many tributes paid to PC Keith Palmer. My thoughts are with his colleagues and his family, and with the families of all those who lost their lives.

I wish to send my good wishes to the dockyard workers hurt in the accident at Leith.

The shadow Leader of the House, the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire), raises some serious points. First, I turn to the issue she raises about my hon. Friend the Minister for Women. I do not think there is any reason for the Minister for Women to apologise to the House. She has a reputation for cross-party working on issues that she cares passionately about, in particular around women’s health, and she played a major role in work on the menopause, with the hon. Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris).

My understanding of what happened is that the Minister for Women could not make the date proposed and had offered other dates to the Committee. The reason she could not make the date was that she had given an undertaking to a Labour Member, the hon. Member for West Ham (Ms Brown), to meet a group of women who were suffering from a particularly painful condition. That meeting was here, but it was scheduled for the same time as the planned Committee hearing. The Minister wanted to go ahead with the meeting, as the women had travelled some distance to come here. Ironically, the hon. Member for West Ham was unable to attend the meeting, for perfectly legitimate reasons. However, the Minister did not take to Twitter to denounce her for that or to encourage others to troll her. The Minister was doing her duty and she has offered other dates to the Committee to attend, just as she has attended the Committee many times before.

It is deeply ironic and shocking that people have been so quick to paint an incorrect picture about our female colleagues in this place, especially in the wake of International Women’s Day, when we all used #AskHerToStand and supported working women. After this session, I will take to Twitter to show the Minister support for the brilliant work that she has done. She does not need to apologise to the House in any way.

The shadow Leader of the House mentions the issue of small boats. I have spoken to the Home Office about the impact assessment; it is quite right that we publish it before Committee stage. I think it will be published very shortly.

The hon. Lady focused the bulk of her remarks on the economy. I thank all Members who took part in the Budget debates. Three of the five priorities the Prime Minister set out in order to be accountable to the public —to increase growth, to reduce debt and to halve inflation —focus on the economy. Overall growth, and construction, manufacturing and services growth, are better than forecast. The Office for Budget Responsibility is revising its forecast on GDP in a positive way.

The UK now ranks third globally as a priority investment destination, which is the highest ranking in the history of our nation. We have the lowest rate of unemployment since 1974. The World Bank says we are the best-placed large European nation to do business in. We became the second country in the world to have foreign direct investment worth $2 trillion. Over the last 13 years, we have become the world’s third trillion-dollar tech economy. We have built the largest life science, TV and film sectors in Europe, and we are the second biggest service exporter in the world. I do not know how all that qualifies us to be the sick man of Europe.

The Labour party is either unaware of those facts or blind to them; the hon. Lady certainly does not want to listen to them. Best not do our country down, though, because these achievements are the achievements of our citizens—their entrepreneurship, their graft, their skill, but also their attitude—and we want to give them ever- increased opportunity. That is why we are modernising our economy. That is why we are removing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade—6,000 tariff lines are being removed—and increasing growth, exports and higher wages. That is good for the whole of society.

The statistics that the hon. Lady did not mention were the poverty statistics that have come out today. The figures show that 1.7 million fewer people are in absolute low income after housing costs now than when we took office: that includes 400,000 fewer children, 1 million fewer working-age adults and 200,000 fewer pensioners. Under Labour, benefits were the largest source of income for the poorest working-age households; it is now their earnings. There are now 1 million fewer workless households and an additional 3.8 million people in work.

We stand for personal responsibility and accountability. We want to help people to get on, earn more and keep more of what they earn, and to reward those who help others. Labour, in contrast, stands for dependency, decline and doing our country down.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Father of the House.

Peter Bottomley Portrait Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con)
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I am glad to have heard my right hon. Friend’s response to the party political broadcast from the Opposition.

I want to raise two questions about people overseas. The first is about a constituent who is 32 weeks into a 24-week process to collect in a foreign capital his wife’s passport with the authorised visa because they want to return together to the United Kingdom. While I have been listening to these exchanges, I have had a message saying that the visa has been authorised, but the constituent does not know when they will be able to collect the passport. If I write to my right hon. Friend, will she pass on my question to the Foreign Office’s private office and get this sorted out? It has been going on for far too long.

My second question is about the life-and-death case of a hunted person in Afghanistan. He worked for the regional governor and was associated closely with the United Kingdom. If the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Home Office cannot give him a way out, will I have to ask the Prime Minister next week to sort it out? People who have dedicated their life to helping us should not be left stranded as this person has been.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for both those important points. If he passes the details of both cases to me, I shall take them up immediately with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Home Office.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I call the SNP spokesperson.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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May I associate myself, on this day in particular, with the Leader of the House’s remarks about all those affected by covid, about the family and friends of Keith Palmer and our gratitude to him, and particularly about the dreadful incident yesterday in the Leith dockyard in my constituency? Our thoughts are with all those affected.

In her response, aka “Here’s one I prepared earlier,” the Leader of the House will no doubt ponder the difficulties currently preoccupying my party and swerve those of her own—but hey, that’s politics. Last week, she was a kind of Mystic Meg in reverse: she finally attempted some answers to questions I had posed to her over the last several months. Scotland Office spads really must keep up.

Yesterday was, I suppose, a thrilling day for political anoraks. The current PM finally shared at least a summary of his tax returns, showing very tidy sums indeed. That comes just days after we heard that a majority of UK workers have seen their salaries stagnate over 10 years—a lost decade of earnings. No wonder Downing Street tried to bury the PM’s news! European Research Group rebels and former Tory leaders did not manage to force a governmental U-turn over the Windsor framework, although a number of hon. Members appeared to be missing from the Lobby, so there may be more trouble ahead for the Leader and for her Government’s Whips.

And, of course, there was the former Prime Minister’s evidence session before the Privileges Committee. I will not go into the details of the session itself or the Committee’s activities—that would not be appropriate—but I do want to raise the attacks openly challenging its integrity. Mr Speaker himself has reminded us of the importance of allowing the Committee to complete its work without interference. Frankly, the attacks from some quarters carry the nasty whiff of Trumpian populism again, like “Stop the steal” or “Lock her up.” There is no catchy three-word slogan attached to this situation yet, but perhaps it is just a matter of time.

The Leader of the House served under the former Prime Minister in his Government. As the Cabinet Minister now responsible for this Government’s business, and arguably for defending their reputation, can she tell us what she makes of such attacks on the institutions of this Parliament? These are not internal party problems; they can be seen as an attack on democracy itself. The current Prime Minister pledged that he would lead his Government with

“integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.”

Does the Leader of the House agree that these issues highlight again the need for restored trust and faith in parliamentary democracy, and will she allow the debate that I have called for previously on that very trust and integrity in parliamentary matters?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising that important point, which is obviously timely given the campaign day this weekend. I will very happily wear one of the purple hearts that the charity is handing out, and I join her in paying tribute to all those organisations that are raising awareness and ensuring that people suffering from the condition get the best care and support.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Committee was disappointed not to be allocated time for Backbench Business debates on Thursday 30th. I am sure it is not personal. We actually had an application for a debate on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, but the Government have taken it into their hands to schedule a debate on that very important subject in Government time. Could the Leader of the House’s office please let us know whether we are to get any time for Backbench Business debates in the first week back after the Easter recess? If we are, we will have to determine the subjects of those debates next week.

A number of Members across the House have asked me if I know whether the Government are planning to allocate additional time in this Session for private Members’ Bills. I am not sure why they asked me—they must think I am some sort of shop steward on behalf of Members across the House—but the Session may have several months to go after tomorrow.

Lastly, the Home Office has told my office in Gateshead that there is now no service standard at all for responses in some categories of immigration casework for constituents my office is dealing with. Surely that cannot be right. There are not even any target timescales to get responses for constituents in particular categories of cases. Has the Home Secretary just given up? Can we have a statement from her about when she is going to do something to improve the situation?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising an important point that all Members want to keep the spotlight on. I will certainly pursue the meeting he suggests, and perhaps suggest a meeting with the envoys for gender equality and freedom of religion as well—I am sure that he works with those individuals already, but it is important to discuss these latest situations.

With your indulgence, Madam Deputy Speaker, may I wish the hon. Gentleman happy birthday for this weekend. I am sure I speak for the whole House in putting on record our gratitude for the very romantic early-day motion 992 on the 50th anniversary of “I Will Always Love You”.

[That this House celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Dolly Parton’s hit song I Will Always Love You; notes the sentiment behind this song and what it means to so many, including the wife of the hon. Member for Strangford; highlights the contribution this song and her music in general to the industry, especially in the late 1960s, early 1970s and over the last 50 years; further notes the large scale event held at the weekend in Dolly Parton’s multi-million dollar theme park at Pigeon Forge in East Tennessee as part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the song, that was written as a farewell to her business partner and mentor Peter Wagoner; and wishes Dolly continued success as she entertains and encourages so many through her music and inspirational character.]

I say that not “Just Because I’m a Woman”, but because the hon. Gentleman is so diligent, working more than “9 to 5”. Every week without fail at the end of business questions we look at who has the last question and we say, “Here You Come Again” and it is “Gonna Be You”—with apologies to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for breaking protocol. The hon. Gentleman has cheered us all up again, as he always does.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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On this occasion, Andy Slaughter is last.

Andy Slaughter Portrait Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab)
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I will grant it as my birthday present to the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) that I am taking last place behind him.

Afghan refugee children who have already spent 18 months in hotels are being removed out of London—not to settled accommodation, but to other hotels several hundred miles away. That breaks the Home Office’s own guidelines on moving children in the middle of exam periods. Asylum-seeking children are having to travel four hours a day to continue their education, again after compulsory relocation and despite the fact that under guidelines they should be placed no more than an hour’s travel from where they are housed. Will the Leader of the House persuade the Home Secretary either to follow her own rules, or to come to the House to explain why she refuses to do so?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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The hon. Gentleman raises very serious matters. The reason that we have those protocols and procedures in place is to ensure that children and young people are given every possible chance to recover from the trauma they have gone through and to get on with their lives, and that they are safe and able to access education. We have put those rules in place for a reason. I am sure the hon. Gentleman has raised the specific examples that he is concerned with, but I urge him please to lean on my office as well. These issues may be widespread, but it does sound as if they are very localised and because of local pressures. The final thing I would say to him is that this is an indication of how under pressure the system is and how inappropriate hotel accommodation is for families. That is why we are bringing forward measures on illegal migration, and I encourage him and all Members to consider that when the Illegal Migration Bill comes to Committee next week.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering the business question and join her in her felicitations to the hon. Member for Strangford.

Point of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 9th March 2023

(11 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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The Leader of the House is at the Dispatch Box and clearly wishes to respond, so I will first ask her to do so.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am sorry if I did not appear sympathetic to the particular situation. I am very sympathetic to the situation, and if there is something that the hon. Gentleman thinks I can do to assist, of course I will. I always make that offer to Members of this House.

However, I would just reiterate to the hon. Gentleman that if he wants the asylum system to work well; if he wants the finite resource we have to be focused on those people in all parts of the world who need our support; and if he wants us to be able to make a judgment about taking disabled children from a Syrian camp because we are the kind of country that can give those children the right support that they need, he needs to help us stop the boats and get the situation under control. I have always tried to work in a collegiate way. I can understand the hon. Gentleman’s frustration at the current situation; I am frustrated at that situation too, and we intend to do something about it.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I think it is important that I respond to the point of order from the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan). As he knows, I am not responsible for the answers of Ministers; however, he has put his point forward and the Leader of the House has responded. I suggest that we leave it at that.

Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Bill

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 56), That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Question put forthwith, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 9th March 2023

(11 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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What a fantastic project! I will put my order in early—a black Americano, please—and I will come and visit my hon. Friend’s constituency and this amazing project soon. This is very clever because it is providing service and support for a community that we all value and treasure, but also enabling it to have more opportunities. I congratulate everyone involved, and also my hon. Friend, who has supported it.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. I was not quite sure whether the hon. Gentleman had actually asked for a debate or a statement. Just a little reminder that this is about the forthcoming business and the Leader of the House’s responsibilities.

Pete Wishart Portrait Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
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Can we have a debate about the quality of the responses of Leaders of the House? I had the great pleasure of being in the shoes of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Deidre Brock) for something like eight years, and I saw a variety of Leaders of the House, but I have not seen one who comes prepared with a script that she then proceeds to read out, taking no notice of any question asked of her. Can I perhaps suggest that she has a quiet word with the right hon. Member for South Northamptonshire (Dame Andrea Leadsom) or even the right hon. Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg), and learn how to be Leader of the House?

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 2nd March 2023

(11 months, 4 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I would be very happy to join the hon. Gentleman in sending that message. We place great responsibility and focus on freedom of religion. We know that, where there is intolerance, this has a huge impact, with many people displaced and, of course, appalling violence and conflict. That is why the FCDO and other Departments invest so much in combating that. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for putting that on record today, and for all the work he does to ensure that people around the world can enjoy freedom of religion.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for answering the business questions.

Point of Order

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 9th February 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving notice of his point of order. On his first point, it is not acceptable for Ministers to provide answers referring to material that is not accessible. Answers should be free-standing or at least refer to material that can be accessed relatively easily.

On the hon. Member’s second point, Ministers and other Members, especially Opposition Front Benchers, sometimes take a different view about whether or not a response is accurate, and the Speaker cannot arbitrate about such differences. Ministers are obviously responsible for their answers. However, if a Minister accepts that a mistake has been made, they should correct the record. That is required of them by both the ministerial code and a resolution of this House. If the Minister does not accept that a correction is required, I am sure the hon. Member will find ways of pursuing his points in any event.

The hon. Member is very lucky that the Leader of the House is here and will have heard his comments, and I am sure she will take them back for consideration. I hope that any other Ministers this will be fed back to will have heard my response to the two issues, and I hope that they will help provide a more useful answer in the first instance and reflect on whether a correction is required in the second instance. As I say, the Leader of the House will have heard that as well.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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Thank you. I also thank the Leader of the House for answering the business questions.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 9th February 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the importance of community football. I know that she is an avid supporter of Southend United, and that she has been working closely with the Shrimpers Trust to ensure that the voices of the fans are heard going into those negotiations with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. I shall happily support her with the experience that I have from Portsmouth. We had such a debate earlier this year, and as I announced earlier, the fan-led review on football governance and what will follow will not be far away.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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My thanks go to Mr Speaker, the Deputy Speakers and staff of the Houses for the wonderful visit of President Zelensky yesterday. He is right: freedom will win.

I, too, extend deepest sympathies to all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria and the humanitarian emergency. I have been contacted by constituents with loved ones in those countries who have asked me to encourage the Government to consider any possible means of help, including offering even temporary refuge here.

We have heard a wee update on last week: HS2 is now rumoured to be facing even further delays of up to four more years, which means that it will be 12 years later than originally planned and the overall costs have gone stratospheric from its original £33 billion estimate up to £100 billion. Meanwhile, the Government are apparently replying to press inquiries with a snotty, “We do not comment on speculation”. Many in Scotland are furious to hear of this staggering overrun on a rail scheme that will offer us virtually no benefits. Surely the alarm bells are at ear-splitting levels, even for this Government. What can the Leader of the House do to encourage her colleagues in the Department for Transport to open up with a statement so that we can satisfy ourselves that it is only speculation and not cause for serious alarm? Can they come to the House before the Chancellor’s announced plans for HS3, 4 and 5 get anywhere near the drawing board?

Let me turn now to yet another Government project that is really not going very well: Brexit Britain. Polls show a huge rise in the number of folks realising that the brilliant Brexit bulldog they were sold is, in fact, just a poor, sick pup on life support. The evidence is stacking up wherever we look. I see that a reformed Remainer has just been persuaded to take on what must be one of the least desirable jobs in politics—chairing the Conservative party. Well done to the Leader of the House for giving that one a body-swerve, particularly now that we hear of the deputy chair’s views on capital punishment.

I wonder, though, whether in the wee small hours of the morning any of them ever think back on Brexit with a tiny tinge of regret, particularly when we hear that biometrics will likely render those precious blue passports redundant and the giant poll today—in The Daily Telegraph, no less—suggests a next general election will see their party in third place? Can we have a debate, definitely in Government time, on Brexit buyer’s remorse, where we might all finally take a good, clear, honest look at the many problems it has caused and the Government can tell us what they are doing to sort them out before everything swirls down the Brexit plughole? Thankfully, Scotland has a clear escape route available to us before then.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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That is indeed good news. I congratulate my hon. Friend on what he has managed to secure for his constituents. It is important that local views shape that new school, and I thank him for getting that call to arms on record.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 19th January 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my right hon. Friend for raising that important point. That would be a good topic for a debate. I am sure that he knows how to apply for one and that it would be well attended. Given that Environment questions is not until much later in February, I shall write to the Department on his behalf to raise his concerns.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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You know, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I have had this role for only a few weeks, but I was under the impression that I would get a few more relevant answers to my questions. Instead, what I get every week is rubbish prepared lines read out by the Leader of the House—performance art, if you like—written by someone who either has no knowledge or care for Scotland and its people or whose aim is to make Scotland sound like a basket case, because cynically they know that mud sticks if something is repeated often enough, even if it is not true.

Perhaps we should have a debate on the quality of ministerial answers to questions. As a political opponent, one cannot help but be grateful for this weekly illustration of the contempt in which the Westminster Government hold our beautiful country and indeed the voters who inconveniently keep rejecting the Leader of the House’s party and supporting mine. It is almost as if our electorate can see through the drivel that they are being fed. If her aim is still to be Prime Minister for the whole of the UK—while it lasts—I am not sure whether annoying great swathes of Scotland’s people is really the way to go about it, but far be it from me to dissuade her.

May we also have a debate about unintended consequences? Just this week, a senior Minister dismissed the views of a holocaust survivor. The Government have also continued to infuriate NHS workers, rail workers, ambulance drivers, union members, trans groups, Scottish independence supporters, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government, and shunted through a Bill that will snarl up many hundreds of civil servants in red tape—one could not make it up—simply because of their blinkered hatred of the EU. Finally, there was the decision to use a sledgehammer to crack the delicate nut of devolved relations through the use of the “governor-general” clause. If the Government keep that up, they will not have any friends left—apart from their many generous corporate sponsors.

Despite it all, I will attempt another question, because this is important. Yesterday, I was pleased to see the Government shifting their position on trans conversion therapy, but sadly they seemed to backtrack the very same day. Will the Leader of the House assure us that that she will use her good offices with her colleagues and make every effort to prevent the forthcoming Bill from being used to stoke culture wars, as her colleagues attempted recently in the Scottish Parliament? I am sure she agrees that trans people deserve nothing less.

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am sure that I speak for all Members in the Chamber in saying how sorry I am to hear that my hon. Friend’s office has been attacked in that way; I know it has happened on numerous occasions before. Like the House authorities, I am sure, I would be very happy to assist if there is anything further we can do to deter and find the perpetrators of this horrible act.

My hon. Friend is quite right. All of us in this place have pretty thick skins, and we choose to do this job and face the dangers that come with it. But our staff should not expect such things to happen to them. I have also taken representations from staff in this place about what they have to endure from particular protesters, who are clearly protesting against us as individuals and Members of Parliament, but staff are caught up in that as well. That is quite wrong. I hope my hon. Friend will come to see me. We will see what more we can do to protect him and his staff so that they can go about their business as his constituents wish them to.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wish the Leader of the House and Members across the House “Gong hei fat choy!” for this weekend—the beginning of the year of the rabbit in the Chinese calendar, I believe.

I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the Backbench Business Committee day on Thursday 2 February. We propose a debate to commemorate LGBT History Month on that date; we are going to assess which other bid to accept for the second debate on that day. I ask Members across the House, as they did last week in numbers, to continue submitting and supporting bids for Backbench Business Committee debates, both here in the Chamber and in Westminster Hall.

In response to the earlier urgent question on the levelling- up fund, the Minister told us that over 500 bids, valued at £8 billion, had been received and that 111 bids, valued at £2.1 billion, had received awards. But those awards are one-off payments, while local authorities across the country have been stripped of about £15 billion a year in lost revenue support grant. My own local authority in Gateshead has lost approximately £180 million per year in real terms. Can we have a debate in Government time about local government finance and the total inadequacy of the council tax system to properly fund our councils and the services that our constituents desperately need, week in, week out?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on that fantastic advert for this very important piece of work. I encourage all Members to promote that survey and the survey that the Office for Veterans’ Affairs is also running. That is a much broader consultation, but the work of the APPG that he chairs is very important because it looks in great detail at the fiscal issues which we know are of huge concern to the veteran community.

Christian Wakeford Portrait Christian Wakeford (Bury South) (Lab)
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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will try to cause fewer fireworks than this time last year.

Radcliffe was awarded a new high school in wave 14 of the free school programme. However, having first been threatened by the then Education Secretary, it is now being delayed by an inept Department for Education. May we please have a statement or a debate in Government time on the progress of wave 14 schools?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising this tragic case. I take this opportunity to thank and praise Open Doors for the work it does. I know that many Members attend that event, and it is incredibly helpful to get that picture about what is happening. Many Members are concerned about freedom of religion. The Government have championed it as well, which is why we have established an envoy on the matter. I will make sure that the Foreign Office has heard the hon. Gentleman’s comments today. Foreign Office questions is next on 31 January. I would normally encourage the hon. Gentleman to be there to ask the Foreign Secretary about the matter, but I know that he requires no such encouragement—I know that he will be there.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 12th January 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for her diligence in pointing out that loophole. I know that she was busy campaigning on this issue over the Christmas period. I suggest that the swiftest way to address the matter is to raise it at Home Office questions on 6 February, and I am sure that she will.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I wish you and Members across the House a very happy new year, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The Backbench Business Committee is very much open for business. We would welcome applications for debates in Westminster Hall which are normally on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, and applications for debates in the main Chamber which are also usually on Thursday afternoons. Applications for date-specific commemoration debates, particularly anniversaries and campaign days, are also welcome, but we ask that Members submit them well in advance so that we can get some planning in and notify the Leader of the House that those debates are coming up. A little note to make is that Thursday 26 January, which the Leader of the House mentioned would be for Backbench business, is the date we propose for the debate on Holocaust Memorial Day, which, of course, follows on 27 January.

Just over the border, in the neighbouring constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Liz Twist), Orchard House Foods on the Team Valley trading estate, which employed many of my constituents, made its workforce of more than 250 people redundant just before Christmas. No workers have received any redundancy pay, and many have been left almost destitute at a very difficult time of the year. Can we have a statement from the Government on what they intend to do to protect workers from the cavalier actions of rogue employers such as Orchard House Foods?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important matter, and I suggest that she also raises it on 26 January with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport directly. There are provisions for these boxes to be removed, and that should be straightforward. There is also an alternative, in that the community can buy them for £1 and convert them to another use. I shall certainly flag her concerns with the Secretary of State and ask her, if possible, to contact her office before 26 January.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. I give just a gentle reminder that the focus is on parliamentary business, so asking for a debate or when the next questions might be is probably a good idea.

John Cryer Portrait John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab)
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Can we have a debate—[Laughter.] I just thought I would get that in sharpish. Can the Leader of the House give the Chamber some idea as to when we might see the White Paper on football governance? The Secretary of State said at the beginning of December that it was imminent. That was not very long ago, and I am not impugning the motives of the Secretary of State, but the Leader of the House knows as well as any of us how urgent this issue is, and many Members from all parts of the House have raised it. Can we see the White Paper in the near future?

Committee on Standards (Lay Members)

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Monday 9th January 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I beg to move,

That, in accordance with Standing Order No. 149A:

(1) Sir Francis Habgood be appointed as a lay member of the Committee on Standards for a period of six years, with immediate effect;

(2) Rose Marie Parr, David Stirling and Carys Williams be appointed as lay members of the Committee on Standards for a period of six years, from 31 March 2023.

I thank the outgoing lay members of the Committee.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Standards: Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Monday 12th December 2022

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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As I have outlined in my speech, the new guidance has been put in place and will come into effect this spring. By the time the Committee wants the reforms we are voting on today to come into effect, Whitehall will be back up to what it is supposed to be doing now, and I think a few months after then, as we head into summer, we should have a system in place that will enable us to report at the same timeframes as MPs’ interests. Then we can potentially look at moving to having just one system rather than separate reporting by each ministerial Department. Those are the conversations I have had with the propriety and ethics team.

The effectiveness of our standards system and the code of conduct rests on its commanding the confidence of both the public and Members on a cross-party basis. Approval of the proposed reforms and strengthening of the rules will represent an important step towards restoring and strengthening trust in our democratic institutions. We support the work being done to undertake and introduce measures to empower the standards system in Parliament, and I am committed to continuing conversations both within Government and with parliamentary colleagues to continue to bring forward any further improvements proposed by the Committee on a cross-party basis.

I assure the House that my door is always open to discuss these matters with all Members. I hope that hon. Members will approve the reforms in the main motion, which I commend to the House. I thank the Committee for its work.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the shadow Leader of the House.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 17th November 2022

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am happy to congratulate the East of England Ambulance Service and Southend University Hospital on this achievement, and my hon. Friend, who I know encouraged it. She has campaigned for the hospital and she has also abseiled down it to raise money for the cancer ward, and I congratulate her on all she has achieved. I hope that this new initiative will be welcomed by her local constituents.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I am sure the hon. Lady meant to ask for a debate on this issue. I call Ellie Reeves.

Ellie Reeves Portrait Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge) (Lab)
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Gabriel Stoyanov was stabbed to death in Lewisham two weeks ago. He was just 21 years old. I knew Gabriel and I knew his mum’s hopes and dreams for his future—a future that has now been senselessly taken away from him. Will the Home Secretary make a statement about tackling the scourge of knife crime and youth violence?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I congratulate the toy bank that the hon. Gentleman visited. There are many such schemes around the whole of the UK, and they do a tremendous job in plugging those gaps. He will have just heard in the Chancellor’s statement about the additional support that is being provided, the fact that we have protected benefits, the household support fund, and of course our commitment to the energy cap, which will help as well. If the hon. Gentleman gets colleagues’ support, he can apply for a debate, and I encourage him to do so.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement, and well done to everybody who actually asked about parliamentary business.

Business of the House

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Thursday 27th October 2022

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Lady for her questions on the themes of democracy and integrity, which are both very important. I reassure her that it is not a disappointment to find myself here, in part because I very much enjoy my exchanges with her across the Dispatch Box. It was important that we tested the proposition of a contest, as we did to destruction, and I think that has been a good outcome.

The Conservative party has one member, one vote and, of course, the Leader of the Opposition tried to end that for Labour. He had to abandon his attempt to return to an electoral college amid accusations of gerrymandering and holding the membership in contempt. Of course, the Labour party has form on this, as it blocked an election when Parliament needed one and its leader campaigned to overturn the result of the European Union referendum, so I will take no lectures from Labour Members on honouring democracy.

On integrity, the ethics adviser is a matter for the Prime Minister, and he intends to bring that decision forward. It is a matter for him, but he has made that commitment. Opposition Members have made allegations about support for jobs. As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, there is support for jobs: he supported 163,000 kickstart jobs; he supported job-entry schemes, benefiting 177,000 unemployed people; and, of course, he paid the wages of 11 million people in this country to protect them and their jobs. I am proud of our record of getting nearly 4 million people back into work with the dignity of a pay packet.

The hon. Lady mentioned prompt responses, and I have met the Home Office permanent secretary. All Members can have a bespoke service in which they attend a surgery to go through their cases, or they can have the usual responses and written replies. Both those options are open. We hope all the backlogs will be cleared by the end of the year, and there are ongoing improvements. I hope hon. Members will have an improved service shortly.

The Online Safety Bill will be back in the House shortly. The Bill remains a priority for this Government. We need to ensure there is time for Members to consider amendments properly, which is why the Bill has not yet returned to the House. I will announce business in the usual way, and we are committed to that Bill.

One thing the hon. Lady did not mention is diversity. All Members of this House can be very proud that we have the first British Asian Prime Minister. He was sworn in this morning, which is why today’s business questions are at an unusual time. I am very proud that my party has had three women Prime Ministers and now the first British Asian Prime Minister. Obviously, many other great British institutions are also enabling talent to thrive. Labour has a little way to go. Even “Doctor Who” has a more successful track record on the diversity of its lead characters.

All other business will be announced in the usual way.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I call the Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley.

Peter Bottomley Portrait Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con)
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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Opposition spokesperson, the hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) rightly described the importance and significance of the role of the Leader of the House. My right hon. Friend knows I am glad she is doing it, partly because it is good for the House and partly because it is bad for the Labour party.

After Prime Minister’s questions, this session is one of the more interesting parts of the parliamentary week. I pay tribute to the Labour spokesperson for giving a review of the week, but may we turn to what should be considered in this House?

I ask the Leader of the House whether we may have the Government’s statement, as soon as possible, on changing the fees for park home residents from using the retail price index to using the consumer prices index, which is long overdue. We need to deal with the issue of the 10% commission whenever anyone changes their home.

On residential leasehold, we need to have the Law Commission’s proposals brought to the House and enacted.

Lastly, on 6 July and 7 September, I put questions to the then Prime Ministers about environmental problems, where inspectors can come and overrule a borough, district or unitary authority’s plans for their area. We must no longer have expensive barristers arguing in a small room over something that local voters have voted on—this happens in areas represented by parties on both sides of the House—in order to avoid having green areas that were not intended to be built on being built over by developers who have more money, persistence and expertise than the planners, whose job is to do the planning not to be a judicial committee of lawyers. May we please get this changed? We should be building on brownfield sites, not greenfield, and we should let local authorities make their own decisions.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for his kind remarks regarding me and my post. He will know that the new Secretary of State is no stranger to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and I am sure will grip these issues swiftly. On my hon. Friend’s sentiments on greenfield versus brownfield sites, local consent and putting people in the driving seat, I think all Conservative Members would agree with him.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I call the SNP spokesperson, Deidre Brock.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is good to see the Leader of the House in her place. I am glad to hear that she is not too disappointed to find herself back here again, answering probing questions from the House, such as this one: if the new Prime Minister can claim yesterday a mandate to govern based on the Tory 2019 manifesto, why will he not recognise the even clearer mandate for an independence referendum, as laid out in multiple SNP manifestos and voted for by a clear majority of Scottish voters, as legitimate? I look forward to the Leader of the House’s answer.

Weren’t there waves of relief from those on the Tory Benches yesterday as they joyfully registered that their jobs were possibly safe for a little while longer? However, criticism has already begun about the new Prime Minister’s choices and judgment; it has been described by others far unkinder than me as a Cabinet of retreads. That does not point to a bright new future for this Government. Most questionably, perhaps, we now have a Home Secretary who admitted breaking the ministerial code, apparently multiple times, and resigned over it just days ago, but she has been given a free pass back. Yes, an investigation is needed, but should this place not produce a guide or pamphlet on “How to be a Secretary of State” —or even a “Secretary of State for Dummies”—for those chosen for these positions?

I do not wish to trivialise the Westminster psychodrama, but there is news that makes all that look like the proverbial storm in a teacup: the three main greenhouse gases were at their highest level ever in 2021, and the UK is not even halfway to meeting its climate targets in the 2030s and being net zero by 2050. Yet new licences for oil and gas exploration are being issued; we have a climate Minister who seems to think that that is good news for the environment; and the COP26 President has lost his position and influence at the Cabinet table, although he has since demanded that the Prime Minister explain how increased licensing dovetails with the UK’s legally binding green commitments. I hope that the Leader of the House will not be tempted to refer to the lazy haverings of Scottish branch colleagues and accuse the SNP of not supporting oil and gas workers in the industry. After all, the Scottish Government have committed £500 million to transitioning from a reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy, a commitment the UK Government have still to match.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations warns that we are rapidly approaching the point of no return and that we must prioritise the climate or face catastrophe. Is it not time this Government took seriously the message that scientists, academics, students and ordinary citizens are trying to tell us through their protests and all work together urgently to reach net zero and quite literally save our planet?

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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising this incredibly important matter again. The date for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport questions has not yet been announced, but I encourage him to apply for a debate in the usual way and I shall write to that Department about the issue he raises.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I call the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, Ian Mearns.

Ian Mearns Portrait Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab)
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I welcome the Leader of the House back to her place and thank her for announcing the Backbench Business debates for Thursday 3 November, a week from today. I am sorry that she could not be with us at 11.10 am. Although she may have been unavoidably engaged in other duties, it means that the time for Backbench Business debates this afternoon has been reduced by almost an hour. I say that on behalf of the Members who have put in to speak in those debates.

As the House is not due to be sitting on Thursday 10 November and the autumn statement is now scheduled for Thursday 17 November, may I ask the Leader of the House whether other time will be made available in those weeks, notwithstanding the planned rail strikes on both 7 and 9 November?

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (Appointment)

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 18th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)
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I would like to begin by endorsing the thanks and appreciation that hon. Members have given for the work undertaken by Kathryn Stone since her appointment in 2017. It has been a tough shift for her, but she has helped to develop the standards system. She played a key role in the implementation of the ICGS and helped the Independent Expert Panel in establishing its working practices and procedures following its establishment in 2020. I have not personally been involved in the recruitment process for her successor. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Mark Spencer) sat on the final selection panel with three other members of the Commission. I would like to express my gratitude to all those who were involved in the selection panels and assessing the candidates. The whole House owes them gratitude.

It is vital that we all have confidence in the standards system and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has a key role to play in that. The comments by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Sir Charles Walker) and the information contained in the Commission report have certainly reassured me that Daniel Greenberg possesses the necessary skills and experience to carry out the role extremely effectively and build confidence in the system. It is therefore my hope that the House will approve this nomination and that we can welcome him and wish him well in his new role.

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Thank you. I certainly recall that, when I was a Minister, there was always a huge sigh of relief when Daniel came in to give us advice. I am sure he will do a magnificent job.

Question put and agreed to.

Standards

Debate between Penny Mordaunt and Rosie Winterton
Tuesday 18th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber